Category Archives: sex ed

saved by the bell.

IMG_3821lately, a part of my day time has been spent in the classroom with all the 3rd grade high school students. i am working with all 6 classes of 3rd grade, during their hours of tutoria. tutoria is an hour during the school day, devoted to helping the students develop a sense of self: self-esteem, future planning, etc. i have been working with the teachers and health center on carrying out the “pasos adelante” program with all 6 classes. at the end of the 3 month course, we will select 3-4 students from each class who have demonstrated the most amount of interest and work throughout the course, and form a group of youth health promoters for their school. they will then replicate the classes for other classes in their colegio and work with the health center on doing health promotion events (e.g. international youth day, world aids day, etc.).

each class, we have a discussion part, where we discuss what was discussed the week before, and how it applies to the next discussion topic. we then do an introductory activity, which normally allows the students to move throughout the classroom. after, we do an applicable discussion and how to apply the activity to the theme and other parts of their life and why it’s relevant. both the students and the teachers have demonstrated a great deal of interest in the program. though, with only 40 minutes for each class, it is definitely step-by-step, but it’s great to make sure that the kids are grasping the concepts, as most of this is the first time the students have been presented with the ideas of: why self-esteem is important, why it’s important to understand how to make decisions, what are the key differences between sex and gender. also, it’s been great to get to know many of these kids in a classroom setting, and has solidified my working relationship with the teachers at the colegio.

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the great may escape.

goodness gracious. my, oh, my how time has escaped us…or really just me.

after celebrating the most incredible peruvian birthday, i hopped on a plane to visit friends and family in the us. i was overwhelmed in general, but also by the love of those closest to me. bu seriously, i was pretty overwhelmed culturally as well. being in the peace corps, you get so used to a certain pace of life, a very slow one, and also that about 90% of your time is spent independent of all other americans and in solitude in your country’s culture. another 5% is spent with any volunteer that may be near you, who you may see with varying frequency (once a week or once every month or so depending on schedules). and the final 5% is with other volunteers once or twice month, who are all living the same life of solitude as you, so really we are pretty not self-aware of  how strangely awkward we have become. so, to put me in a situation where i was constantly interacting with people, by the end of the 3rd day in a row, i slept for almost a full 24 hours to catch up. though, i am not complaining. it was so wonderful to see all of my family. and i am so blessed that my brother and close friend both flew in from nyc to see me.

it was especially nice to get to spend time with mp, who was my main reason to visit the us. when mp last left, we went to cusco and lima, and now it was my turn to pay him a visit. though, he kept me quite busy and even gave me a second birthday surprise! he coordinated with a local animal sanctuary to do an at-home visit with a SLOTH and FENNEC FOX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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i think it should also be noted that i got my hair cut for the first time in almost a year, and saw it straightened and cleaned, and i felt like a new woman. but obviously with the animals above i was on another level of excitement that was out of this world. eventually all good (read: great) things have to come to an end, and a very reluctant to leave girl was pushed on to her plane by an amazing mp to return to peru.

i arrived back to peru in one piece, and had a few days in site to remind everyone that i was still here and wanting to work, and also coordinate and prepare for our PEPFAR (president’s emergency plan for aids relief) training. with this training, my socia and i were able to take away a number of great new resources and statistics to share with our community, and now have the opportunity to receive aid money for our project.

doris and i after she received her certificate of completion!

doris and i after she received her certificate of completion!

the following week, we jump started our 6 classes of our sex ed leadership training program, but unfortunately later that week, she received news that she was being transfered to another post far from my site, so now i am still spearheading this training, but more so solo-style, since my health post is dramatically understaffed, and have them help out when it needed. but if anything, this motivates me even more to get my youth promoters trained, so they then can be doing this part and alleviate some of the stress from the health post as well.

i have been terrible about using my camera lately, so i will succinctly describe the other activities that have been keeping me quite busy:

  • i have been giving business charlas to the artisans, and helping them figure out what the costs of their products are and how to determine what they should be setting as their prices. and goodness, they were in need of this. one artisan had been selling these beautifully embroidered bread covers for only 10 soles, when the cost alone to make them was 35 soles.
  • 6 classes of pasos a week keeps a girl busy. let’s just leave it at that.
  • i have been working with my youth leadership council (ADEPZORT) on helping them with their community diagnostic. we have been visiting the most rural caserios and my goodness, you never get used to seeing the amount of poverty that exists in this country, or in any country, but you can’t help but want to give so many more opportunities to these people.
  • celebrated dia internacional de los museos with other volunteers, and finally visited my museum’s pyramids.
  • weekly youth group meetings with my mochumi young women’s group.
  • coordinating a 5-pueblo job fair for september
  • coordinating an environmental awareness event with my colegio for next week.
  • working on a website for the artisans
  • working on a video for the museum
  • and of course, camp ALMA!!!!!!!!!!! (which will be covered in it’s own post)

so i have been busy, busy girl and for that i am grateful. i have also been able to watch all of the new arrested development…superb! as a parting gift, here is a picture from the top of one of my pyramids:

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vih/sida.

last week, after returning from almost two weeks out of site, i jumped right back into work! i started out by going with doris door-to-door doing mini charlas on vih and conducting hiv tests. we chose to go door-to-door because only women come to the health center, so the hope was that we would be able to catch some men to take the test. even though we were able to talk to men about the test, almost all still refused to take the test…another perfect example of the machismo culture…also they were normally the most fearful of the brief pain of the test…ha.

doris explaining vih.

doris explaining vih.

administering the rapid test. the test is quite simple...

administering the rapid test. the test is quite simple…

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during eist, the obstatrices gave a few charlas at the colegio and even included the dinamicas that i shared with them. as a way to celebrate the end of the charlas and testing week, we planned a pasacalle! peruvians love their pasacalles! in typical peruvian fashion the 8 am pasacalle didn’t start until 10 am, BUT it was still a success. tons of literature was distributed as well as condoms. hoorah!

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monica, doris and i post passacalle!

monica, doris and i post passacalle!

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let’s talk about s-e-x.

the needed materials for a great sex ed charla.

as mentioned previously, i was asked to work on some sex ed charlas for the colegio. since i lack in the needed spanish language vocabulary for this, i had doris, my socia at the health post, take care of the technical stuff and i did all the dinamicas.

our icebreaker dinamica was a hit. new favorite icebreaker FOUND.

doris taking it away! such a super star.

in regards to the dianamicas i helped with changing up the feel for the charla, so it wasn’t just her lecturing about the consequences of adolescent pregnancy. we put questions in balloons and would pass the balloons around the classroom like hot potato and when the music stopped the kids had to pop the balloon and ask the question that was inside the balloon. this worked especially well since the kids are incredibly shy…relatively speaking.

i have had a number of people mention in the interviews that i had with them that adolescent pregnancy is a problem in tucume. in my surveys, it’s become quite apparent that the kids have little to no understanding of contraceptives, but have also been (thankfully) honest in stating that if the opportunity presented itself they would engage in sexual relations with their partner. honestly, the latter-half isn’t a surprise, as it is just as common in the us. it’s the preventative part that worries me. we didn’t have much time with the kids, but it was really important to me that we talk about contraceptives and to really think about the responsibility that comes with sexual activity. after the serious part of my soap box, i did what every teenager dreams of (but actually fears), i held a condom race!

really the point behind the race is to give an opportunity to all the students to hold, handle and practice using a condom (with a banana of course). this way the idea of using a condom is not a foreign idea…plus condoms are free at the health post…FREE. anyways, it’s also great because it relieves the pressure of practicing this in a room full of people as well.

giving some tips on how to apply the condom.

all-in-all, we taught this lesson to all the 4th years in secondaria…more than 125 students in total. hopefully it will help some students in their decision making process in regards to not only their sexual health but also their future.

one of the aulas.

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